Would you sign up for a one-way trip to Mars? Or does moving to the Red Planet with just 24 to 40 other people for the rest of your life sound like borderline (or, perhaps, complete) insanity?
Starting in 2024, Mars One, a not-for-profit organization, plans to send one-way missions to colonize Mars. 200,000 people initially applied, proving that there was certainly an eagerness to go.
But is the idea a good one? Mason Peck, former NASA Chief Technologist and now Mars One adviser, assures that a one-way trip to Mars is, at least ethically, viable.
In response to the direct question, "Is a one-way mission insane?" Peck responded with a list of motivations for the mission that he deems pure and sensible.
For those that believe colonizing Mars will help the survival of the human race, Peck says this mission is "a noble sense of self-sacrifice".
If one's goal in life is to achieve the immortality sometimes granted by fame, despite high risk of death, then this mission is a way to ensure that goal is met.
"In some sense," Peck adds, "putting yourself at risk helps ensure your influence on the history of humanity will outlive your physical being."
Some people may logically see this mission as an opportunity for personal accomplishment, a challenge to be overcome. Peck likens it to the drive of those that dare to climb to the top of Mount Everest.
Lastly, Peck adds that the mission is an opportunity to become a "Mars entrepreneur" and make money for yourself or for those loved ones back on Earth.
"If people choose to undertake this risky activity with full knowledge of the risks, I see no ethical issues," he said.
Some have raised concerns about a potential Kobayashi Maru situation, named after the infamous no-win scenario presented in Star Trek. Peck attempts to banish such worries.
"One of the first things I would do upon landing is to begin building the tools, the equipment, and the economic structures to one day build an Earth return vehicle. Such a hope would not be irrational," Peck said, adding that there will most likely be Internet access; sending schematics, tests and ideas from Earth will not be impossible.
The application deadline is long past and Mars One is now interviewing the overwhelming amount of candidates. As of May, 705 applicants out of the total 200,000 remained.
"They will have to show their knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality," said Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft on the applicants and the interview process.
Mars One is an ambitious organization with the goal of colonizing Mars permanently. It plans to incorporate much of the technology recently developed in the industry that makes it possible for humans to live on Mars.